Google Glass Will Change Marketing

By Posted in - Marketing on July 11th, 2013 0 Comments Google_Glass_Explorer_Edition

I had the opportunity to attend the Utah Google Developers Group (GDG) and view a presentation on Google Glass. The presenter walked everyone through the features of the device: how to use it, what it’s good for, as well as Google’s Mirror API. He showed us what he saw using an application that mirrored the display on a MacBook, which in turn was hooked up to a projector. I’m grateful for the opportunity I got to check it out because Glass will have a big impact going forward.


Based on a demo and an hour or so of observation, here are my impressions:

  • The interface did not seem that convenient. Having to repeatedly swipe the temple seems intrusive. At that point it is no more convenient than using a smartphone.

  • The most potential obviously comes with the camera. A GoPro can do a better job at video, but augmented reality and facial recognition could make Glass must-have. (Yes, I know Google has banned facial recognition apps, but I don’t see that lasting forever)

  • It’s early, but the API seemed pretty basic. I’m looking forward to seeing how they expand it.

  • Apparently the battery life leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Voice recognition was flaky during the demo, but I expect that to improve.

I’m not sure how valuable it will be as a general purpose device. It seems it has the most potential for specific tasks or occupations, and one of those occupations is marketing.

Glass and the Future of Marketing

Not too long ago I went to a Marketo event held at the Little America in downtown Salt Lake City. I learned a lot about marketing systems in general, but I was most interested in what they had to say about lead scoring. In case you don’t know, most companies that use robust marketing automation platforms create a score for every potential customer. They calculate that score by saving your IP address and tracking which pages of their website you visit along with any forms you fill out. The more activity, the higher the score. Then, when you fill out a form and give them your email address, they link that score with your email address (as opposed to your IP address, though they still keep that information). A marketer can assign you a lead score using a lot of other kinds of information, as well.

My good friend Joel Acevedo and I spoke with a few Marketo employees after the presentations and asked about lead scoring. Joel asked one woman, “I’m curious to know what my lead score is for Marketo. Can you show me?” Within a few minutes she had looked up his info on her smartphone app and told him exactly what his score was and what it meant. If she had wanted to, she could have looked up which pages he had visited, which eBooks he had registered, and so on.

What does this have to do with Glass? Imagine if she had one more piece of data: a photograph of Joel. With Glass she could snap a photo, use facial recognition to match the live photo with his photo on record, and within a few seconds have access to all of the information Marketo had collected on him. She could have done it with or without him even being aware of it. Is he a small business owner? Great! Talk to him about the small business plan. Is he a marketing automation expert at a larger company? Ask him about the shortcomings of his existing system and see what it would take to get him to switch.

This leads me to make two predictions:

  1. There will be new lead generation businesses that specialize in linking email addresses with photos. I don’t know exactly how they’ll do it, but they will make a lot of money doing so.

  2. Marketers and salespeople will be amongst the first widespread adopters of Google Glass. They will use it for prioritizing whom to talk to at conferences or other large gatherings, as well as for preparing for conversations.

Should We Be Scared?

We give away a lot of personal information to companies: Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, the list goes on. In some ways, facial recognition will just continue the trend of providing robust data to marketers and advertisers. However, this particular step along the trend may go a bit further than some people are comfortable with. I suppose time will tell. In any case, I don’t know when or exactly how it will happen, but Glass will have a huge impact on in-person sales and marketing in the future.

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